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By Dr. Larry F. Palmer, Clinical Psychologist

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true . . . honest . . . just . . . pure. . . lovely . . . good report . . . think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

 I recently received a very special gift — a new Bible written in the Choctaw language. I was indeed very excited! For here, written in my native Choctaw language were the words of Jesus in Mark 6:31 “Fohah hupishno yak”.

Jesus had been busy — teaching, preaching, healing, and feeding multitudes — so much so that he and his disciples had little time to themselves to rest “for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat” (Mark 6:31).

So Jesus told them, “Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place and rest a while.” Or in the Choctaw language: “Fohah” (rest) “hupishno” (you, all of you) “yak” (right here)!

So often we today are so busy that we fail to take the time to rest. According to the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, over 30% of American workers claim that they are “always” or “often” under stress at work. Because of advanced technology, workers are never really off the job. With cell phones and pagers and email and iPods, etc., there is really no good way to avoid being available to the needs of a job twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Eighty-three percent of email users admit to checking their email daily even while on vacation.

Researchers suggest that 43% of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress. And between 75 and 90% of all doctors’ office visits are said to be because of stress-related ailments and complaints.

Richard A. Swenson, M.D. maintains that “modern Americans get less sleep than at any other time in history. In 1850, for example, the average American got nine and a half hours of sleep per night. By 1950, that had decreased to eight hours. Currently, it is seven hours — and still declining. As a result, fifty million to seventy million Americans have sleep disorders.” Ask any physician and they will tell you that rest is essential for physical and emotional health.

Because stress is so widespread, perhaps what we really need is a real day of rest. Or as God directed in the Ten Commandments, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8). Jesus promised, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you REST . . . and ye shall find REST unto your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29). Let’s take the time to REST and re-charge our batteries and do as Jesus suggested “Come . . . and rest a while”.

Think on these things!